Auxilius Notes

Start with standardization: Comparing clinical trial proposals

By using our free bid grid template (available via the form at the end of this article), two things happen: first, you can standardize and assess proposals from different vendors. Two, you gain key insight into metrics that may matter to you and the success of your phase 2-3 studies. This resource will focus on how leaders might use these key insights.

Diving deeper on proposal comparison

A ClinOps leader often has a good idea of how much a given study should cost per patient (i.e. $20k per patient) but those high-level numbers are often hidden within the bid and missed in the shuffle of the proposal process. Some simple Excel magic and voilá, you can surface some clear differences across your bids – “wait, why does this bid cover only one monitoring visit per site?” With this bid grid and some simple analysis tools, you will have a much better sense of the shape of your study and can solicit informed feedback from your vendors on direct fees, pass-throughs, and more.

Once you have all the bids outlined and compared, a standardized bid grid makes it easy to drill down into some important comparisons between your vendors: cost per patient for CRO, total cost per patient, how many CRF pages per patient, how many visits per patient, and more.

In support of an Auxilius client recently, David Fenske, the aggregator of this bid grid, drilled down on two competing bids and surfaced some intriguing tidbits:

  • Vendor X assumed a screen failure rate of 18%, while Vendor Y assumed 9%
  • Vendor X accounted for 0 dropouts, while Vendor Y accounted for 5%
  • Both CROs placed a significant amount of their costs in “monthly” buckets
  • Vendor X had a PM cost approximately that was double Vendor Y’s
  • Vendor X had a 74% lower investigator fee estimate (!)

Each of these is worthy of conversation – how did they arrive at that estimate, what scenarios are likely to play out in the real-world – and in aggregate can make for some interesting lines of questioning.

In reference to the last bullet point, you might play out a plausible scenario by normalizing the investigator fees: Vendor X will not realistically negotiate a 74% lower fee than Vendor Y – when assuming that the higher estimate is more likely, an overall cost difference between the two vendors shrunk from 37% higher for Vendor Y to roughly 8-9%. With such a reduction in the overall cost difference, other considerations might become more prominent: which vendor is a better fit for your organization, which has a stronger PM function, etc. This type of reasoning is yours to maximize; the bid grid simply gives you the perspective from which to do so.

Download your copy of the bid grid by clicking here.